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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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Tampa Fl - Auburndale FL - Richmond VA

Wednesday 10th July.This was one of those days when one wished they had stayed in bed. Arrived at Tampa OK, but was then told that the goods were not for them but for Dal-Tile in Brandon FL. I followed his instructions, but they proved to be incorrect and I did a lot of unnecessary mileage trying to find the place. In all it cost me two hours, and I knew then that I would not get the Pompano Beach off today. Then it was a day of constant very heavy rain, which not only reduced visibility but made it impossible to make up any time. I fuelled up at Fort Myers at the Pilot Truck Stop, had a shower and then delivered in Fort Myers itself. I then drove across Alligator Alley towards Miami and then made a very big mistake in looking for a Truck Stop for the night. I assumed that there would be one on the I95, but after driving north for 60 miles and not seeing one I decided to turn round and park at the customer in Pompano Beach. One of those really horrendous days one could well do without, and it will not be any better tomorrow, as I have one last delivery in Miami, and I am sure that I will be dead-headed back to Lakeland FL.

Thursday 11th July.I had to pull off the bay at one o’clock in the morning because another driver had a load, which he was going to tip himself. He must have a key to the premises in order to get in. He was not long and as soon as he had gone, I backed back on to the loading dock and went back to sleep. I was awake early and noticed that the shutter doors were open, so I got up, dressed and went onto the dock. The guy there said that they do not start till 0730 hrs, but that he would tip me anyway. What a result, a quarter to six in the morning and another drop off. That was the end of the good luck, because I missed the 826 turning on the way to Miami and had a little difficulty finding my way to the drop in Miami. As it turned out it was 53 miles away, but eventually I made it and was finally empty at 0800 hrs. I was then instructed to make my way to Lakeland. I had to change the fuel filter on the way up and it was OK for only about an hour, when it started playing up again. I was offered two different trucks at the depot, but I thought that the devil I know was the better option. I scrounged another filter and changed it again. Let’s hope it will be all right now, as I have to load in the morning for Westfield. Massachusetts.

Friday 12th July.It took all morning to load at Minute Maid, mainly because of the many breaks they have and the number of trucks waiting to load. I was away by lunchtime but then had to wait for a fax of my Missouri Authorisation, as I currently have no number plate and am running on temporary authorisation. The journey up I4 past Orlando FL was horrendous with all the road works and I95 was no better. It took six hours to do 257 miles, but of course I will only log four hours. Robin and Angela pulled in later in the evening and he parked behind me, but on our return to the trucks we found that someone had hit his trailer and pushed him into the back of mine. There was no damage to mine, but his trailer has a serious dent in the back.

Saturday 13th July.Covered 547 miles today, but it was quite a tiring one because it was very busy with the week-end four wheelers out in force and not knowing what they were doing. They just do not seem to be able to concentrate and are totally unaware of anyone else’s presence on the road. Stopped for the night at Richmond VA on the Wal-Mart Car Park, did some shopping and then had a Chinese. Very good it was too. Now going to bed early as I have to fuel up in the morning at the Flying J. change the fuel filter again and also have a shower before tackling the 500 miles to Westfield MA for tomorrow night’s delivery.

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